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Scorpius Multi Purpose Decoder

Hi Guys,
   It’s all about apps these days. In fact I’m about to use the Scorpius app to upload the latest firmware test patch. All on my phone I can download the latest firmware from my emails and save to files, then open app and upload to car in under 30 seconds. Carrera and Scalextric power bases connect to apps but Scorpius doesn’t have a power base.

So what to do?
How about we add a second radio chip to
the MPD and make it a dedicated BT chip just for phone connection? 
I think it’s a decision that if I said yes I would never regret it. Direct car to phone Comms whilst carrying out Scorpius proprietary Comms on full 2.4GHz. Imagine that? 

I must also clarify even though the MPD has the 832 chip by Nordic which is both full 2.4Ghz and Bluetooth it can only do one  or the other. Not simultaneously and hence the thought of doubling up on radio chips. 

Of course it will make the board bigger but we do have most of side B to use up and another layer would come in handy here. It that case no bigger board.
The current MPD prototype is exactjy that, a prototype. New ideas are inevitable. Another world first……assuming John gives the go ahead.  Cool

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A while ago on another forum an enthusiast posted pics of an OLED. 0.49” screen mounted in the windscreen of a 1/32 scale slot car used to identify the cars number. I must say it looked really cool. And now that we have decided to use back EMF detection for motor speed, eliminating wires and hardware I was thinking of ditching the hall sensor, adding one more pin and make use of the available space for an OLED plug n play screen.

I think it would make a nice touch. The screen simply displays the cars ID number between 1-24. 

The twin radio proposal although not confirmed is looking good. This will also be revolutionary and a bench mark in the industry. This involves adding a second BT chip in addition to the highly regarded nRF52832 chip. This will allow the car to talk to controller and phone simultaneously.
The possibilities are full on and very exciting. (….read Bluetooth headset for example) Let’s hope we proceed with this. 

Other news: Now that the DPR JST plug is not going directly on board but rather in short flylead it makes sense to convert to Scorpius wiring pattern which suits Carrera and other brands better.
The SMD capacitor not quite big enough to keep lights on properly over dead spots so a plug n play optional cap on flylead could be an option or we simply make the onboard SMD cap bigger but this will mean a slightly larger PCB which I’m happy to do if required. 
The revolutionary plug n play accessories addition for the MPD would allow such a plug in. You could even choose the cap rating.

Next, a slight hesitation in car acceleration sees a new patch (yet to be tested) issued in the last few hours. I look forward to that.

An incompatibility between new firmware and existing Scorpius lap count software being looked at.

Lane changing coming up on telemetry but not changing lanes. This is being looked at.

DPR hatch. 2 updated 3D printed prototypes arrive Thur. No doubt one final round of changes will be required. Just need to order stainless self tapper screws.

Debugging Carrera car protocols starts.

So a number of possible hardware changes coming. Remember this chip has to (and will) last a decade without hardware changes like the last chip. Once I make the bed I have lie in it hence the need to include all required hardware for foreseen functions and new functions coming in the next decade. This philosophy worked 100% on the last version.

Pic of 0.49” OLED screen.

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Scorpius MPD in a Thunderslot Lola using 2.0 JST plugs.
Lapcounting debugged.
Onto lane change debug.
Slight hesitation has crept in to motor drive albeit rarely so a debug required there.
About 1/4 the way into Carrera car chip debug. Need to complete Scorpius debug process first.

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Hi Guys.
   John made a nice programming jig with stainless hardware, a custom PCB made especially for this board and 3D printed board holder that holds the decoder firmly and exactly in position.
Under the chip you’ll see 4 programming pads. This will eventually be shipped to the factory along with a test program.

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This decoder in Carrera mode on its way to the USA for beta testing…….
Included on hardware are full lights. These are used to communicate different flashing patterns to indicate certain functions or confirmations. A Carrera LED and Scorpius photo sensor are also wired. All wires are silicon as standard.
More soon.

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We’ve had issues with car stuttering and we’ve discovered the accelerometer algorithm needed tweaking. As the car drove around the track it would interpret bumps as the tap tap tap on car with finger function to put into boot mode.
Tap detection now calculates the 3D vector magnitude of acceleration after subtracting the instantaneous acc in each direction from a filtered value for that axis. John has set the threshold for tap detection at ~0.3g and there is a 3 sec delay from powerup to when it will start detecting taps to allow the filters to settle. Upshot is that the car can be tapped from any direction and the pcb doesn't need to be horizontally mounted.
Also we’ve added a auto version numbering to our firmware updates and will keep a strict record of changes so we can refer to them in months or years to come if required.
Pic below of a Scorpius MPD SSD DPR decoder being built up to test with the 3mm infrared LED soldered in place.

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